New UI Center Uses Technology To Prepare Future Teachers

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - (KCRG-TV9) The University of Iowa is unveiling a two million dollar renovation and technological upgrades for the College of Education. Now, on the first floor of the Lindquist Center North, four separate offices are under one roof - including the Teacher Leader Center, Education Technology Center, Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research, and I-SERVE.

"Across the space really is a focus on using technology to improve teacher education and better equip our students so when they get out in the classroom they are ready to hit the ground running with regards to using technology," said Christopher Morphew, the executive assistant dean of the College of Education.

Technology like a Double robot, which uses i-Pad technology to connect home-bound students with a real-life classroom.

Mandi Burkley, a junior studying elementary education, helped show off the robot at the space’s grand opening Thursday evening.

“It’s just a way to get people involved even though they might not actually, physically, be able to be there,” Burkley said. “It’s just the way technology is evolving.”

A homebound student can log into an app on a simple Wi-Fi connection and move the robot around the room. A microphone and speaker system also allows the homebound student to interact personally with fellow students and teachers.

Additional technology includes Smartboards and a room that feeds sound directly into hearing aids or cochlear implants for the hearing impaired.

“I wish I had this,” said senior student Danielle Peterson. “Every single lesson plan I’ve created is on the Smartboards, I always have interactive stuff on the boards either at the beginning or at some point in every single lesson.”

For educators here, it’s a space that moves learning forward.

“Teachers can learn to use technology to help all learners learn so it’s a universal place for learning rather than just a place of learning for students who look like the traditional student and learn like the traditional student,” Morphew said.